New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CRENSHAW v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-019-010, Claim No. 98862


Synopsis

Claimant awarded total sum of $4,000 for injuries resulting from attack by another inmate including $1,500 for past pain and suffering; $1,500 for future pain and suffering; and $1,000 for scarring.

Case Information

UID:
2005-019-010
Claimant(s):
WILLIAM CRENSHAW
Claimant short name:
CRENSHAW
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
98862
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
ANDREW F. PLASSE, ESQ.
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERALBY: Joseph F. Romani, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 23, 2005
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
This court previously found that the defendant State of New York was 100% liable to the claimant for any injuries he suffered when he was struck on the back of the head with a broom by another inmate at the Elmira Correctional Facility on June 8, 1998. (
Crenshaw v State of New York, Ct Cl, May 10, 2004, Lebous, J., Claim No. 98862 [UID No. 2004-019-008]).[1] A damages trial was held in this matter on May 10, 2005 at the Court of Claims in Binghamton, New York. Claimant was represented by counsel for the damages trial. This decision addresses the issue of damages only.

At said damages trial, claimant presented his own testimony, as well as his medical records. Claimant did not offer any expert medical testimony. The State offered the testimony of Cornelius De Bruin, a registered nurse at the Elmira Correctional Facility.


At the conclusion of the trial, a bench decision was rendered on the record granting claimant damages based upon the findings of fact placed on the record by the court as set forth hereinbelow.

With respect to the issue of past pain and suffering, the court found that claimant suffered a blow to the head; was treated in the facility infirmity for approximately 1 hour; received pain medication; and 4 stitches to close his wound. Claimant testified that his sutures were removed at some later date. Claimant also testified he has continuously suffered headaches since the date of the assault. The court noted that claimant's medical records establish that a subsequent CAT scan and MRI were negative. Based on the foregoing, the court awards claimant the sum of $1,500 for past pain and suffering.


With respect to future pain and suffering, claimant testified that he continues to suffer from headaches for which he takes various pain medications. The court awards claimant the sum of $1,500 for future pain and suffering.


Finally, with respect to the issue of permanency, the State's witness testified that the original wound measured approximately 1¼ inches in length. Although the court attempted to view claimant's scar during trial, the scar was hidden under claimant's hair and the court was unable to see the scar. That having been said, however, based on claimant's testimony, the court finds that claimant's scar was visible for a time following the attack, although most of the hair has since grown back in. The court awards claimant the sum of $1,000 for the scarring.


Consequently, at the conclusion of the trial, a decision was rendered on the record on behalf of the claimant in which the court found for the claimant in the amount of $1,500 for past pain and suffering; $1,500 for future pain and suffering; and $1,000 for scarring; for a total award to claimant of $4,000. Interest on the award is to run from May 10, 2004 the date that liability was determined.


In accordance with the prior Order to Produce Claimant at Trial dated January 27, 2005, the court directed that "[t]he costs of transporting, security, guarding and all other related expenses for producing the claimant at the Court of Claims from Clinton Correctional Facility shall be paid out of or offset against said judgment or settlement. Clinton Correctional Facility shall so advise the Court of these costs by an affidavit submitted by a responsible and knowledgeable facility employee familiar with the costs incurred...."


In accordance with said Order, the Department of Correctional Services is directed to provide to the court within thirty (30) days of the filing of this Decision, an affidavit by a responsible and knowledgeable employee setting forth the costs incurred in producing the claimant at the trial of this claim. The affidavit should also be served on the attorney for claimant who will have until the forty-fifth (45) day after filing of this Decision to provide a response. In the event that the affidavit setting forth the costs is not provided to the court and the attorney within the specified time periods, the right to recover such costs will be deemed waived. Entry of judgment is stayed pending resolution of this issue.


May 23, 2005
Binghamton, New York
HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]Selected unreported decisions from the Court of Claims are available via the Internet at